3D Mammography Available Twice Weekly at SWMC

Women living in the Sebastopol area may not realize it, but they have access to a highly advanced breast cancer diagnostic tool that improves the clarity and reliability of mammogram results. Sonoma West Medical Center, conveniently located at 501 Petaluma Avenue in Sebastopol, CA offers this state-of-the-art imaging service with expert radiologic interpretation in a comfortable setting twice weekly. Appointments are available by calling (707) 823-8511.

About 3D Mammography

3D mammography is a fairly new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection that can be done in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram.  Mammography done this way provides a better, more reliable view of the breast tissue which helps to increase the efficacy of the test, while making it possible to catch breast cancer at earlier stages. 3D breast screening is particularly effective for women who have dense breast tissue.

During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple breast images. Then, a computer produces a 3D image of the breast tissue in one millimeter slices, providing greater visibility for the radiologist to see breast detail in a way never before possible. The radiology team can then can scroll through the images of the entire breast like pages of a book.

The additional 3D images make it possible for a radiologist to gain a better understanding of the breast tissue during screening and the confidence to reduce the need for follow-up imaging. With conventional digital mammography, the radiologist is viewing all the complexities of your breast tissue in one flat image. Sometimes breast tissue can overlap, giving the illusion of normal breast tissue looking like an abnormal area. By looking at the breast tissue in one millimeter slices, the radiologist is able to provide a more confident assessment. In this way, 3D mammography finds cancers missed with conventional 2D mammography. It also means that there is less chance your doctor will call you back later for a “second look,” because now they can see breast tissue more clearly. However, sometimes the radiologist may ask a patient to come back for follow-up images for a diagnostic mammogram to rule out an unclear area in the breast or if there is a breast complaint that needs to be evaluated.

3D Mammography is approved for all women who would be undergoing a standard mammogram, in both the screening and diagnostic settings. It complements standard 2D mammography and is performed at the same time with the same system. There is no additional compression required, and it only takes a few more seconds longer for each view. Very low X-ray energy is used during exam, just about the same amount as a traditional mammogram done on film. To learn more or to schedule an appointment call 707-823-8511.